Considering President Muhammadu Buhari intention to present the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the joint session of the National Assembly next Wednesday, 19th December 2018, members of the House of Representatives have reportedly threatened to be absent during the presentation.
Buhari made known his intention through a letter dated 12th December, 2018 and addressed to Speaker Yakubu Dogara,
However, the House is yet to make a commitment on receiving the President following a purported statement attributed to the Minister of Budget and National Planing, Udo Udoma that the lawmakers are causing a delay in the budget presentation as the executive was waiting for the legislature to give it a date for presentation.
Adamu Chika (APC, Niger) in a point of order said the Minister lied on a national television against the parliament and demanded an apology over the statement.
Mark Gbillah (Benue) in his contribution backed his colleague’s assertion that “It is a statement he (Udoma) made categorically.
“He lied against this honourable house on national television. I want to join my colleagues to request a formal apology on TV, else we will refuse to attend that budget session with Mr. President,” he added.
On his part, Mike Adeniyi (Ogun) said, “The executive arm has always portrayed the parliament in bad light. The Minister must come and apologize. If not, the President will come to meet an empty house”.
To counter his colleagues, the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila pointed out that the Minister appeared to have been found guilty by his colleagues even before being given a fair hearing.
He said: “The Minister called me this morning; he was alarmed and upset and shocked.
“He said he was just reading something in the papers ascribed to him and that he never said such a thing and he is writing a rejoinder as we spoke.”
“So I think we should tarry a while because you are accusing someone of lying. Let us not turn this house into a partisan House”.
Muhammad Soba would however, have none of that excuse accusing of Gbajabiamila of sycophancy, saying, “We have seen how sycophancy has been taken to the next level. That is the APC government for you”.
In his ruling, the Speaker pleaded that the Minister be given some time and a benefit of the doubt of the story would be denied by the Minister.
“But if we don’t see the rejoinder, then we have an issue because we will not allow this institution to be blackmailed. If nothing is done, we will take a concrete action on it,” he said.